Over the last month, Canyon del Oro's Gentry Hicks has been playing admittedly boring and predictable golf.
He's laying up on short par-4s, he's not taking many chances and, most importantly, he's playing the best golf of his life.
Hicks followed up a first-day 31 with a second-round 69 on Saturday to win the 27-hole CDO Open with an overall score of 100.
Hicks edged Ironwood Ridge's Alex McMahon (101), who also shot a 69 Saturday but entered the day at SaddleBrooke Ranch Golf Club one stroke back.
Hicks' first-round score and his overall score were both personal bests.
"I'm playing smarter and I'm swinging easier, which is more predictable," Hicks said. "I've struggled in past years because I took a lot of risks and this year I'm taking less risks.
"It's more predictable but it's more fun winning. It's like driving the speed limit."
Hicks had just four second-round birdies, which was a letdown after draining five birdies in nine holes on Friday. "But I shot a good score so it's OK," Hicks said.
McMahon also had four birdies Saturday. The senior and UA commit said his day was a little frustrating because he missed a handful of short putts.
For example, he missed an eagle putt from inside 10 feet on the 523-yard, par-5 fourth hole and had to settle for birdie. Then, he missed a birdie putt from about 7 feet on the seventh hole.
"I hit the ball really well and this course provides a lot of scoring opportunities," McMahon said. "There were so many short putts that should have gone in and just didn't."
McMahon said he wasn't paying attention to how Hicks was doing in the group ahead of him. But for Hicks, who also finished ahead of McMahon while winning last weekend's Dorado Invitational in Rio Rico, McMahon's performance was of interest.
"I knew I wanted to beat Alex, obviously," Hicks said. "I had kind of been getting updated how he was doing throughout the day. Honestly, that motivates me to go make a birdie or go make a couple really good putts."
McMahon's Nighthawks won the team title, edging Salpointe Catholic 436-438. CDO and Scottsdale Chaparral tied for third (441).
Look for Ironwood Ridge and Salpointe to be in contention for next weekend's Division I state championship. CDO is a favorite to win in Division II.
Salpointe's Ricky Lee, who shot the low round of the day Saturday, a 68 (he finished in third place at 105), said this tournament provided great competition leading into state.
McMahon agreed that it was nice to see how his team handled the pressure.
"It will be deeper at state, but it'll be the same kind of situation," McMahon said. "It was great for me and great for our team today to get in a situation where we had a chance coming down the stretch, and actually ended up winning."
On StarNet: See more photos from the CDO Open at azstarnet.com/gallery